Human Body

Hinge Joints – Types and Characteristics of Hinge Joint in Body

A joint is a point in the body where two or more bones meet. There are three main types of joints such as Fibrous (immovable), Cartilaginous (partially moveable) and Synovial (freely moveable) joint. A hinge joint is a popular class of synovial joint. Hinge joints are between two or more bones. Such bones can only move along one axis to flex or extend. In our body, the simplest hinge joints are the interphalangeal joints between the phalanges of the fingers and toes. In such hinge joints, the bones are able to flex to decrease the angle between them – like when making a fist or curling the toes – and extend to increase this angle by 180 degrees while holding the foot or hand.

hinge joint


Characteristics of Hinge Joint

  1. The hinge joint roughly resembles with the hinge on the lid of a box.
  2. The movement of the hinge joint is uniaxial means one-directional.
  3. The convex surface of one bone fits on the concave surface of the other bone so that uniaxial movement can be possible.
  4. These are made of straightforward synovial joint material with tiny accessory ligaments for reinforcement.

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Internal Details of Hinge Joints

Each bone is capped with a very thin layer of smooth hyaline cartilage. It reduces the friction in the joint and also absorbs the shock of the joint being compressed. The bones are covered by a capsule of tough fibrous connective tissue lined with synovial membrane.

The joint capsule at all of these joints forms the knuckle that is visible through the skin that covers it. Also, the synovial membrane produces oily synovial fluid which ensures the free movement of the hinge joints.

Hinge joints are supported by other tissues, including cartilage and ligaments, to connect and bend. These connective tissues are important to protect the bones from rubbing as they bend at varying degrees to keep our bodies mobile.

Types of Hinge Joints

  • Elbow
  • Jaw
  • Hand
  • Foot
  • Knee
  • Ankle

1. The Elbow

The elbow joint connects the upper portion of the arm i.e. humerus to the two bones in the lower arms which are radius and ulna. Thus, it’s called the humeroulnar joint. The humeroulnar joint is situated between a notch in the ulna and a notch in the humerus.

2. The Jaw

The jaw is primarily a hinge joint that allows w to open and close our mouth. But it can also move from side to side. The jawbone is not a hinge joint, but it is the part that moves as a result of the hinge. Like the joints of the knee and ankle, it can also exhibit a certain amount of rotary movement.

3. The Hand

Interphalangeal joints are the joints that connect our fingers together. These might be some of the most important hinge joints in the human body, considering how much we use our hands-on any given day. There are three sets of joints in our hands which are metatarsophalangeal joints, proximal interphalangeal joints, and distal interphalangeal joints.

4. The Foot

Similar to our hands, our feet also have three interphalangeal joints. These joints have an underside consisting of two planters tendons. While our toes certainly look different from our fingers, but they work in much the same way and exhibit the same two movements i.e. flexion and extension.

5. The Knee

The knee joint attaches our thighs to our lower legs. It is the largest joint in our body. So it’s a relatively complicated joint to understand in terms of connection and motion. The knee is different from other hinge joints, except the ankle, as it allows for side-to-side movement rather than simply flexion and extension.

6. The Ankle

Our ankle joint is known as the talocrural region.  This is responsible for the motion of our feet at the ankles. This hinge joint is rather unique because it allows for some side to side movement. In fact, the hinge joint of the ankle is made up of three separate joints which are talocrural joint, subtler joint, and distal tibiofibular joint.

Solved Question on Hinge Joints

Q. What are the points of difference between a hinge joint and a pivot joint?

Ans: Hinge joint allows on one-way movement and is found in fingers, elbows, toes, and knees. It is just like a hinge on the door which allows us to open and close. On the other hand, the pivot joint allows upwards, downwards and sideways movement. It is mainly found in the first vertebrae of the vertebral column. A hinge joint is a common class of synovial and pivot joint, which is also called a rotary joint, or trochoid joint.

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